Why I Write
I remember many years ago when I signed up for a correspondence course in writing, one of the questions they asked was, “Why do you like to write?” I was stumped. I had no idea why I write. At the time I was writing a romance novel so I asked myself why I liked to read romances. After some thought, I answered something like, “I want to be able to give people an escape from the stresses of the day.” I think my answer was true at the time but as I evolved as a person and a writer, I have come to understand that the reason I write goes so much deeper.
As a teenager I kept a journal, something I do to this day. It is a way for me to explore my thoughts and feelings, to ask the questions I dare not speak aloud, and at times, to rant. Writing a journal allows me to see things more clearly because it is written down. And sometimes I even write myself into an answer.
As I think about my novel, River of the Stick Wavers I have come to recognize my own struggles on the page. I have often wondered what I would do if anything ever happened to my husband. So, I think I unconsciously explored the idea on paper as my protagonist Grace, learns to deal with life after the death of her own husband.
I like to think that after any tragedy some good can come from it. And so my novel is about how Grace learns to navigate her life without a husband. The choices she makes, the people she meets, the changes she goes through. In essence, how she evolves.
So many of the things that are important in my life came organically to my book. As well as exploring life after the death of a loved one, my book also touches on spirituality, history, prejudice, the healing power of nature, and strong women.
It seems I have always been surrounded by strong women. Women who aren’t afraid to speak their minds. Women who have dealt with abuse. Women who follow their own path. And even women who don’t think they are strong, when in actuality they are. I think this last one is important because sometimes women tend to measure themselves by someone else’s standards. Because we are the, so-called “weaker sex”, we are not always considered strong enough to withstand the rigors of the world. But sometimes being quiet to protect your children is being strong. Struggling to make a marriage work on your own, takes fortitude. Dealing with the running of a home when the husband is sick is no easy task. And caring for a loved one who is ailing is definitely not for the faint of heart.
A friend of mine once told me that I helped her to find her voice. We all have one, and sometimes we just need the encouragement to use it. This is something I also explore in my writing. How women learn to find and trust their own voice – in essence, the process of uncovering that inner strength that some women don’t realized they have. I think this will always be a major theme in the books I write. It is my hope that women will be able to recognize themselves in the journey, or at least, be inspired by my characters.
Writing gives my days focus, and my life purpose. It also helps me to understand myself and the world better, and perhaps along the way, it will help women to discover their own unique voice.